Royal London boss says peace has broken out between his company and rival insurer LV after bitter row, though failed merger talks not revived
Peace: Royal London boss Barry O’Dwyer
The Royal London boss says peace has broken out between his company and rival insurer LV after a bitter row, though failed merger talks are not being revived.
Barry O’Dwyer’s comments follow the breakdown of talks in February last year. LV has since appointed a new boss, David Hynam, and is committed to remaining an independent mutual company.
“I briefly met the new CEO of LV and had a really nice conversation, but no discussion of mergers or anything like that,” said O’Dwyer. “I have wished him well with what he is doing. I think it’s on the right track.’
The firms, both owned by their members, fell apart after LV’s former bosses attempted to sell it to private equity firm Bain Capital for £530 million, rejecting a rival offer from Royal London.
However, the demutualisation attempt was thwarted when members voted against the takeover in 2021 following a campaign in The Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail.
O’Dwyer welcomed LV’s commitment to remain a mutual relationship.
“At the time, we couldn’t understand why LV had to demutualize. I think we were right,” he said, adding that the difficult trading conditions in the industry made it likely that mergers would take place between life insurance, pension and asset managers.
He added that he would consider mergers with other mutuals, but only if they make the first move.
“There are no forced marriages in this industry – it should be a consent marriage,” he said, as Royal London reported a 58 per cent increase in annual pre-tax operating profit to £210m last week.